There was something so cool about being on a bus full of runners and listening to them all talk about running the race in prior years, their training adventures, what other races they are currently training for, etc. I chatted briefly with the guy sitting next to me, but mostly just listened to the conversations around me.
After what seemed like forever, we pulled into a long line of buses and waited for our turn to unload. What awaited us was pure chaos. The starting line corral area is really only the width of a street, so all of the half marathoners were crammed in like sardines. I took off my long sleeve shirt I was wearing, stuffed it into my sweat bag and threw it into the truck. Then, I crossed my fingers that the bag (which also contained a pair of sandals and a clean, dry T-shirt) would make it to the finish line.
As I pushed my way through the crowd, I was keeping an eye out for the Clif Bar Pace Groups so I could at least line up by where I wanted to be.
(check out the cute little package I got in the mail from Clif!)
I knew there was a 2:00 and a 2:15 pace group but I still hadn’t decided which one I wanted to run with. Only because I was tired of shoving my way through the crowd, I decided to stop and line up near the 2:15 group. It was about 6:30 and the race started at 6:45. The national anthem was sung to kick off the Half Marathon Championship race and I tried to forget about the fact that I kind of had to pee (there was no way I was going to make it through the long line for the porta potties) and I decided that if needed, I’d duck into the woods after I got going.
I never heard them announce that the race was starting, but the huge crowd eventually began to lurch forward — and we were off! The first mile or so of the race was crowded — dodging runners left and right. But it really didn’t take long for me to settle in. The last few long runs I had done leading up to the race, it could be mile 3 even before I’d feel good and warmed up, but I really did feel great right from the beginning.
I didn’t pay too much attention to my split times throughout the race — mainly just kept an eye on my pace. I pretty much kept it under 10 min/mi the entire time. The sun was fully out for most of the race, but there was also a nice breeze that you could feel every so often. I took my first water at mile 3 and then sipped a bit of water every two miles after that. I also took half of my GU at mile 6 (I also saw my husband at mile 6!!) and then the rest at mile 10. Around mile 8, my feet started to bother me a little, but nothing too serious.
The last bit of the race is a total blur to me. The crowds thickened and I finally looked at my overall time and realized that I was definitely going to beat my PR and that while I wouldn’t do a sub-2:00 (which I never had planned to do) I’d possibly break 2:05!
(while not flattering, I look happy here!)
(along Superior street — only a little over a mile to go. The energy was awesome during this stretch!)
(rounding one of the final bends! I can almost see the finish line!)
I crossed the finish line feeling pretty strong!! But as soon as I started walking, a wave of nausea came over me and I could feel two blisters. While it would have been fun to stick around for the post-race festivities, all I wanted was some ice and a shower. and a nap.
(See my finish line video here — the side angle is easier to see me — I’m too short to be seen in the front angle 🙂 )
(I love the green finisher shirts!)
The rest of the day I iced and napped and ate (once I stopped feeling nauseous).
We spent a lot of the day in the car driving home yesterday but I took today off of work to recover and to go get a post-race massage. I can hardly wait!